I looked outside and noticed that is was such a nice day. The weather was too perfect to be inside, and I wondered if the kids would be in the mood for the park. I took another glance outside and thought they would really enjoy an outing, so I packed up some snacks and headed out the door to go pick them up from school. As I drove to their school, I starting thinking about where should I take them, then I remembered that there was a park right next to their school. That would be the perfect place for them to run around and enjoy the fresh air and the nice weather. So it was decided, the park it was, and I could not wait to tell the kids. My little ones jumped in the car, smiling faces abroad, and I asked them if they wanted to go. The moment I mentioned the park, their eyes lit up, and just like I suspected, we were off in that direction.
The mood was of excitement and anticipation the closer we got to the park and my children grew more excited as I pulled into the parking lot. While I was looking for place to park, the presence of someone caught my attention. I noticed there was a young girl, sitting all alone on a nearby table. It was not the fact that she was there or even alone for that matter, but there was a feeling, which I got instantly in the pit of my stomach and my heart. This feeling was a feeling like a deep connection that you can feel inside your heart or stomach. I couldn’t explain it, and I never once looked at her face. The feelings that she was having or what ever she was going through was very present around her.
My focus immediately changes with “Mommy is we here yet?” I put the car in park, and say the words they are waiting for, “Yes we are, unbuckle and have fun.” I think that before I even finished saying that they were out of the car. I got out of the car and headed towards my children, and watching in amazement, at the amount of fun they were having. Smiles on their faces, and troubles or worries that their little minds might have for at least for the moment have disappeared.
I was amazed what nature can do for the body, mind, and spirit. It is the tranquility that I felt at the moment, that I wanted to pray that everyone can experience and feel. I was so happy at this moment, but then suddenly I looked over at the young girl sitting on the table, and the expression on her face immediately changed the good feeling that I had to one of heart felt sorrow. My heart ached immediately for the girl and I had no idea why. My first instinct was to go to her and talk to her. But the other side of me, the cautious side did not allow me to.
I heard the enjoyment of my children and there calls for mommy watch me do this and mommies watch me do that. The same calls that all parents receive every moment of everyday, except when they are sleeping. As I pushed my children on the swings and slide them down the slide, I still watched the young girl on the table and wandered what it was that brought her here. Why was the feeling of pain and confusion and suffering surrounding her, and why was it so strong. The feeling I had would be best described as a Parental instinct. Every parent will get some sort of feeling if something is really wrong with their child. It is a feeling that cannot be described or put into words. It is just a feeling that is it.
As I sat there and wandered, I felt a slight tug at my shirt and the soft words of my 6 year old son. He said, “Mommy, who is that girl sitting at the table?” I told him I did not know, and then he asked another question, “Mommy, she looks nice but lonely and sad. Can I go say hello?” Now my first instinct as any parent would have would be no way. Your thought is that this stranger and maybe we should not bother people. But for some reason, at that very moment my son asked that question, she was looking over and smiling at my children playing. So I decided against my first instinct, and said “I think that would be very nice.”
I sat there laughing at my son prance around from side to side. Trying so hard not to make it seem he was on his way to her, but trying to let her know he was on his way. The thought process of a child can not be questioned or understood. That is what makes it so amazing. All the while he performed his little antics; I saw the young girl laugh and smile. What I saw in her from the start was not as present before. Her mood changed some and she had a twinkle in her eye that was not there before. No words were exchanged, just obvious laughs at the show my son was performing.
Before I knew it and very unexpectedly, I heard a voice. This voice was not one I had ever heard before, but it was soft, and frail, that of which a child would have. When I realized it, the girl on the table was the one asking my son a question. She said to him, “Hello little man”. He stopped where he was, looked at her and smiled and said, “Hello, my name is Caleb.” My son looked in my direction and had a huge smile on his face, as if someone had given him a basket full of candy. The she said to him, “Hello Caleb, my name is Heather. “It’s very nice to meet you.” He danced around a little more, and then I heard him say “Come meet my mommy and my brother and sister”. The two were suddenly on their way towards the rest of us.
My son came to me, and grabbed my leg and my hand and told her I was his mommy. We all laughed, and he ran off to go play. I extended my hand to the young girl, and said, “It’s nice to meet you, Heather.” She said. “You have a very cute son.” I told her the thank you that all parents say, yet there was the same lingering feeling in me that I could not get ride of. For some reason, I felt that I needed to say something to her, but was not sure what I had to say.
There was a connection to her that could not be explained, it was something that we both shared and I understood now. It was this I had to figure out, so the connection could be made so maybe I could help her in some way.
Deep in thought, but still very aware of what was going on; I was informed by my children that they wanted to go on a nature walk. Caleb walked up to the young girl, now known as heather, and asked her if she would like to go for a walk. She was hesitant at first, but I said “You are more than welcome to come if you would like.” She then smiled and said that she would like that. We began what I like to refer to an adventure walk. While walking and listening to all the questions and conversations that the children had, I could not help but wander if I should ask her what I wanted to ask her. Before I could stop it, the question came out of my mouth. “Heather, why are you here by your self and not at home?”
She stopped right where she was, and with her head still turned the other way, she began to look my way but at the ground. It was if she was trying to figure out what she should say, as if searching deep inside her, and knowing that the yearning to say something would greatly help her. The only words she could muster were “I am ok.” There was a certain tone in her voice that sounded quivered and uncertain, scared even. The tone was one of trying to holdback sadness and pain and trying not to let her tears come running through. I could not help to reach out to her, and tell her it will be ok. But I said to her, “Heather, I am sorry if I have upset you in anyway. I did not mean to make you upset or make it seem as if I was trying to get in your business.” She didn’t say anything. She just looked up at me, and as fast as she had stopped walking; her tone and expression had changed. When she was once sad, looking like she was about to cry, she was now happy.
Heather took a deep breath and said, “No, really I am ok. I asked myself that question everyday, but I have never had someone else ask me that.” Surprised and taken back, she continued to say, “Everyone in this world is looking for peace and tranquility. They seek a place to feel that they are safe, secure, and most of all happy, even when their home, which should consist of all these things, does not. There is only anger, pain, sadness, confusion, and absolutely no peace in quiet or peace of mind. This place, this park is the only place I find the peace I am looking for and in desperate need for, even if for a moment. It helps me function, and get through another day that I sometimes wish had not come.” She said, “This is the most perfect place to me; this is peace waiting to be found.” She smiled and started walking again, her attitude was different. She seemed as if pressure had been taken off of her some how. If not to help her, at least listen to her, it seemed as if that would be enough.
I walked after and had little “wow” conversations with the treasure seekers that showed me everything they came across. The end of the path had finally come, and it seemed to of taken longer than it normally did. Through this whole time of walking and talking, I still wandered what it was that connected us? Why this feeling I had so strong, and what was I to do or say? These things ran through my mind over and over again, and then it came to me.
The connection, the feeling I felt, was one of familiarity, which I had once felt what she was feeling now. Feelings that I thought I somehow buried deep but linger form time to time, and no longer hurt like it did in the past. It was these feelings that she has now and I had once in my life that we share, and we both relate to it and that is when I knew exactly what to say to her.
I said, “Heather, please do not think I am trying to get in your business, but for some reason I am drawn to you, and the feeling you have about your self and your life, will one day change. The pain that you are going through in your life will one day change, and it will be for the better. The happiness that you are searching for and yearning for so bad that it hurts at times, you will get because you deserve it.
The pain and suffering that you are going through now will one day pass. It will stop hurting, even though sometimes for reasons unknown at the moment. Soon enough life reveals its meaning, and you will survive and be stronger than you ever were before.”
I often wander if I’ll ever see that girl in park that we came to know as Heather. On occasion I have dreams or things that bring my past back to me. I am not in pain anymore, and I only pray that either is she. I think of her every time I think of my past. I think back to the day in the park, where we met.